Hilton Niau

With his impeccable skill and imagination, Hilton Niau is one of the few artisans who preserve the Ni'ihau shell lei craft, which is in danger of extinction. His commitment and passion for preserving this endangered folk art contribute to retaining the cultural richness of the forbidden island of Ni'ihau.


Hilton Niau's dedication to preserving the beauty and tradition of Ni'ihau's shell lei artistry is evident in his creations. He pays homage to the island's rich heritage and ensures that its beauty and mystique are cherished and celebrated by all who appreciate this remarkable folk art.


In his pursuit to uphold the traditions of this fine art, Hilton Niau, along with other masters and artisans, continues to experiment and develop new styles, ensuring that each creation is unique and crafted with precision and skill. His creations are sought after by family, friends, collectors, and those who are new to this traditional Hawaiian folk art.


For those who wish to learn about the art of making Ni'ihau shell lei, there are various terms to familiarize themselves with, including the different hues of shells and styles of sewing. One popular method used today is known as "kipona," which involves combining different types of shells, such as momi and kahelelani.